Paul Van der Wende's 1929 Ford

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1929 Ford Model A Roadster owned and built by Paul Van der Wende of Los Angeles, Claifornia, a founding member of the Pasadena Roadster Club. Built in 1946, Paul's roadster was one out of six cars that started the club. The build was based on a Sport Coupe, and the intent was to have more leg room as the doors are longer on the Sport Coupe. The stock frame was Z'ed in front and rear before the chopped Sport Coupe body was channeled over it. An original Okie Adams front axle was installed along with a 1932 Ford wishbone and 1940 Ford hydraulic brakes. The steering box was from a Willys, and the shock mounts were chromed Dodge units. A major portion of the work on Paul's car was done at Tri City Auto in downtown Los Angeles. Up front, the chopped Sport Coupe was fit with a custom made track nose built from a 1935 Dodge grille and shell and scratch built nerf bars.The hood was also custom made, and featured louvers on the sides. The rear fenders were bobbed, and rolled rear and side pans were fabricated for the car to reduce wind resistance. The headlights were original Arrow lights, and the taillights were taken from a 1940 Hudson. Built for racing on the lakes primarily, the roadster didn't have a windshield. Power came from a hopped up 1940 Mercury engine featuring an Isky 3/4 cam, Johnson lifters, Weiand "S" heads and a 2 pot Weiand manifold with two Stromberg 97 carburetors. Custom made headers were installed on the engine. A 1939 Ford transmission was hooked to the engine, and sometime after it was completed, Paul installed a 1949 Ford rear end on the car. Inside, Paul installed a dashboard and deluxe sterling wheel from a 1940 Ford. Auburn style 2 3/8" gauges were placed in the dash. A 1939 Mercury pedal system was also installed along wIth a late 1940s aircraft bucket seat. The wheels were 1939 Kelsey Hayes.

Paul was in the Navy during the war, and he was involved in the Bikina Nuclear Testing. Due to the radiation exposure from these tests, Paul died in the early 1960s. The car sat for almost 40 years after his death.

Early in 1992, Ed Potthoff was looking for a hot rod in progress that he could complete. He had a 1933 Ford Sedan that he wanted to trade for a decent project, so he put an ad in the paper. The '33 was kind of rough, so in the beginning no one responded to his ad. One prospective swapper, however, eyed another car that Ed also had, a 1936 Ford sedan that he had planned to build for his wife. The guy had an old hot rod in his backyard, so Ed went over to check it out. Stored under a tarp, parked in a lean-to way out back sat a little silver 1929 Ford. Ed went nuts as that was exactly what he was looking for, so a deal was struck.

Ed started by cleaning up the car so he could evaluate what he had bought. Unaware of its history, he found an old receipt tucked under the front seat. The receipt was for a gas tank, and there was a phone number on it. He gave the number a try, and made a call. The call was answered by Mrs. Paul Vander Wetering, the widow of the original builder.

In 2011 Paul's old roadster was advertised for sale on eBay.

The current owner was Don Pennington of Flagstaff, Arizona.


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